Episode 027: David Lynch (Special Edition)

July 29, 2009

David freaking Lynch. Not for everyone. Jakob and Mandi love him so much they made a Twin Peaks cake.

So, if you didn’t turn the episode off when Jakob and I decided to re-cast ST:TNG with characters from Twin Peaks, then you might be interested in taking the following Twin Star Peaks Trek through wooded space…  Read the rest of this entry »

Episode 026: Half Blood Prince (Special Edition)

July 25, 2009

We talk to Kumar through the floo network, are visted by Eliza’s patronus and Ben sends us a muggle recording by owl while Igor annoys Mandi.

There’s a moment in the Half Blood Prince movie that is sublime. It’s when Harry takes a shrooms tincture and hallucinated he’s at a funeral for a ginormous spider. It’s pure gold. That kid is hillarious high. Here’s a clip of him at one of his E parties.

Speaking of parties, this week we talk to Kumar through the floo network, are visted by Eliza’s patronus and Ben sends us a muggle recording by owl while Igor (seen being a creeper here) annoys Mandi.

Click here for Episode 26!

Nerd Hurdles concept goes viral

July 21, 2009

Kind of a strange thing has been happening lately. Our titular term Nerd Hurdles has been getting away from us. It was to be expected since one of the reasons we chose the phrase (coined at the 13:21 minute mark of episode #16 of my old P-Reviews Podcast) as the concept behind the show was that it had already spread like wildfire among our online friends. Like most fruits of inspiration, it’s something that simply popped out of my mouth as I improvised a bollocking of the Star Trek trailer. It’s really my only claim to fame and, if I died tomorrow, the only thing worthy of putting on my tombstone. And this is evidenced by the term beginning to take on a life of its own.

The first instance of the term becoming a meme came as a shock. I discovered The Box Room  were doing “nerd hurdles” as a topic for two episodes in a row (#28 and #29). At first I assumed they were people who knew us from the Simply Syndicated forums but a little digging showed they were total strangers. How was this possible? Listening to the first of their hurdles episodes it was revealed one of their listeners suggested the topic. And, being intelligent people who a nose for a brilliant idea, they jumped on it. I still suspect this listener with the bright idea must be a Synner (I coined that term for fans of Simply Syndicated as well, BTW) but I haven’t been able to identify them. It’s even possible they heard the term from a friend of a friend of a Synner. In a way, I like to think that’s the case. I like the idea people hear the term and it resonates with them like top tens or hot or not. Anyway, when I contacted the Box Room people and they were very gracious about the mix-up and gave us some pretty nice props on their episode #30. And, to be honest, I enjoyed listening to someone else take on the concept and do it justice.

The next time I saw the term pop up unrelated to our podcast was on this response, dated 30-10-2003, to a Stax Report blog post speculating on the casting of the then upcoming Watchmen movie.  A full five years before I coined the phrase. Dr. Manhattan has to be behind this time displacement since it’s impossible I merely heard the term at some point and filed it away in my subconscious until it popped out of mouth and I claimed it as my own. Definitely Dr. Manhattan’s doing as neither my ego nor my vanity can accept that my tombstone is once again a blank slate.

I still coined the term “synner” though. I’m not letting go of that.

Project Potter: The Final Chapter

July 17, 2009

Now that I’ve read The Deathly Hallows—which really isn’t bad—I can finally lay this series to rest and sum up my views on books once and for all. Feeling I’d need to see how they ultimately played out, I’d been reserving judgement on a few things.

The first is the “friendship” between Harry, Ron and Hermione. I put friendship in quotes because throughout the seven books I never got the sense they actually like each other. Not truly and, to be honest, they’re all insufferable bores. Ron most of all who is a wiener through and through. His perpetual emo whining is bad enough but when coupled with his lingering jealousy of Harry’s fame and talent he becomes the biggest douchebag of all the characters. That’s including Malfoy and Snape. Suck it up, princess and grow some. What a twat. Hermione and Harry don’t rate much better. Between Harry’s stubborn moodiness and Hermione’s tight-assed know-it-all-ness, there’s not much to recommend any of the three. And in a book series where the theme of friendship and loyalty is a key ingredient it’s a problem when your trio of friends only hang-out together because no one else can stand them. The movies do much to fix this problem, but on the page it’s a flaw.

The other main flaw in this seven book series is it’s really a three book series. Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets could have been condensed down to one book. Goblet of Fire is fairly decent as it stands but could have incorporated the essential bits of the lesser quality Prisoner of Azkaban. The dismal Order of the Phoenix could almost be abandoned wholesale with any important information from it shoehorned into a combined Half-Blood Prince / Deathly Hallows. Though I can appreciate the seven books for seven horcruxes/years gimmick, I can’t see any evidence the story was enhanced by stretching it out over seven books. Clearly what was enhanced was the bank accounts of Rowling and her publishers. I can understand that as well. Potter became an industry and if they thought they could have stretched the series out to thirteen books, I could appreciate that from the standpoint of appreciating sheer marketing cajones. But as far as being a work of art (or entertainment), it’s a flawed concept in that it spread the story too thin.

Speaking of bank accounts. I suspect if Rowling’s ever gets too low we’ll see a new series of books where Voldemort’s crumb of a soul left in the King’s Cross purgatory to die will be brought back to life by a Death Eater who escaped arrest after the final battle. Just sayin’

Episode 025: Celebrity Worship (Special Edition)

July 16, 2009

Inspired by the recent spectacle of his death no doubt, Tony Pucci suggested we do Michael Jackson as a topic. I thought we could go one further and do an episode on Celebrity Worship in general. At some point in my life I can’t remember, I suddenly stopped regarding celebrated individuals as anything more than “just some person who happens to make records or act in movies or run countries.” Or it may have been a gradual shift. I can’t tell. I know that I went from being a teenager starstruck by seeing his idols on stage to an adult with a vague sense of “meh” at the same.

Stephen Harper proving hes just a guy... who strangles kittens

Stephen Harper proving he’s just a guy… who strangles kittens

Perhaps it was having several friends who’d reached a certain level of professional success in the entertainment fields which dulled me to stardust. Or perhaps it was being involved in promoting rock shows where you interact with people who happen to be famous but really no different from the local unknowns in the opening act (only probably less lazy). Eventually you obtain the perspective that musicians are either just “regular joes” or are insane, ego-maniacal  fuckwits who lack any sense of reality and how they fit into it. And what makes them insane, ego-maniacal  fuckwits is that they’re also just another person.

Now when I see famous people in the flesh, I do still get a bit of that sense of otherness about them. But it’s in the same way as visiting a famous, historic landmark. Like when you stand at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and suddenly are struck with the sense you are seeing this structure that millions of other people have seen; that you are able to reach out and touch this cliché piece of clip art everyone has been bombarded with since birth—and how it’s really just a big lump of wire and steel. There’s something surreal about seeing a face you only know from illuminated screens or glossy magazine pages. And even more surreal to know they’re just another human who by ambition or luck happens to be famous.

Related links: David Lynch (someone what we’re obsessed with); GOWN (Andrew what got us tickets); More Andrew on video; Infamous: Robert Pickton The Pig Farm Killer; Famous: MJ; The Box Room (unwitting but gracious Nerd Hurdles impostors); Megan Fox zombie (what is only here to attract Google hits); Boz (what sent in an audio comment); Tony Pucci (what sort of suggested the topic).

Episode 024: Sculder and Mully (Special Edition)

July 11, 2009

They say the truth is out there. I want to believe that. But I trust no one. The truth is the catch-phrase laden X Files doesn’t weather so well. I watched the shit out of that show when it was on TV in the 90s. Everyone I knew did.

Yeah, he really was that sordid.

We wanted to believe the government was evil and something to rebel against like the hippies did the 60s. But we didn’t really have anything. Life was pretty good in the 90s and pretty bad for artists and anarchists. Even though the Bush cronies actually were beginning to work their Voldemort-like machinations back then, they were frankly it was too subtle for us kids to see. Hippies had Nixon and the punks in the 80s had Thatcher/Reagan’smore obvious douchieness to take on. Us grunge kids had… Friends and New Kids on the Block to combat? The first Gulf War was over before we could rally against it and, well, life was pretty comfortable otherwise. But Roswell cover-ups! We knew the bastards were hiding something.

And I think the popularity of  The X Filestied-in to another social need of the 90s. New Age hullabaloo was huge in the 90s. Supposed athiests were realizing at this late stage in the liberal dream that humans need to believe in something. At least a large percentage of the population does to be happy. For some people it’s Jesus and Yahweh giving meaning and order to complicated lives, for others it’s a vague interconnected “spiritualism” half-based on Eastern philosphy, half-based on soap scents and ecological imagery that controls our destinies. Still others who want to believe in something over-seeing their lives, controling it for better or worse, turn to the secular version of an all-powerful, wrathful diety: a conspiratorial government.

I think for a lot of conspiracy theorists and conspiracy fans the idea that no one is in control is unacceptable. Better an evil, Machiavellian government deviously controlling our lives than nothing or no one at all.

Personally, conspiracy theories are too nerdy for me.

Project Potter: Half Blood Prince

July 6, 2009

Though I enjoyed it more, generally, than Order of the Complainers, I can’t remember much of The Half-Blood Snape. I’m finding there’s not much to say about it. My one complaint is with all that’s going on, I find it hard to believe Harry would care much about quiddich or house points or girls. Okay, girls maybe. Love always flourishes in times of strife. But when Snape is unfairly taking points away from Gryffindor, the fact Harry thinks any of that matters just further strengthens my belief he is a big wiener. He may as well change his name to Skywalker.

Otherwise, there are only two things I can remember about this book. The first is the underground lake full of zombies. Awesome. Though Rowling massively pulls some punches in the that scene. She may have brought zombies to the table, but then she doesn’t let us have any. What a crappy host. I can only hope these Inferi creatures show up again in The Deadly Marshmallows and are used to their full potential.

The second big event is of course the Snapester killing Dumbledor. I have to give Rowling props for not having him saved by some contrived bit of magic like Snape’s curse was blocked by a cigarette case or a jinx-proof vest. Which is what I was expecting. I am however concerned he’s going to pull an Obi-Wan and show up as a ghost or, worse, is perhaps living in Harry’s wand.

Anyway, Half-Blood Prince. It’s alright. Don’t have much to say about it.

Episode 023: Pride and Prejudices (Special Edition)

July 3, 2009

It was Pride Week in Toronto and last weekend Mandi and I went to the Dyke March and beer garden then recorded a podcast about Pride and hurdles associated with it and other LGBT issues. To be honest, we weren’t as drunk when we recorded this episode as I’d hyped on Twitter. You can hear my voice slurring a little and we don’t call each other on clearly false or dubious points, but it was just a mild post-beer garden (and pub) tipsiness.

My political views on Pride are covered on the episode so I won’t get into them here. And having enjoyed the day (even the hellish beer garden) I’m not sure exactly what they are anymore.

All I know is if Mandi gets the crew of the Enterprise tattooed on her body, we have to make sure it’s done better than the example of tattoo portraiture below.

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